5 Tips for Preventing a UTI

Mar 06, 2023
5 Tips for Preventing a UTI
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are exceptionally common, especially among women. Whether you’re prone to developing them or you simply want to know how to avoid them, we can help you reduce your UTI risk with these five strategies.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are the second most common infection among Americans, resulting in more than 8 million doctor visits each year. While UTIs are far more common among women, men can be affected, too.

Prompt treatment is important for relieving symptoms and for preventing more serious problems from developing. Ideally, though, you want to do all you can to prevent those infections from happening in the first place.

With offices in Kihei, Kahului, and Lahaina, Hawaii, Minit Medical Urgent Care and Physical Therapy is a leading provider of island-wide urgent care, including safe, effective urinary tract infection treatment. In this post, our expert team offers five tips that can help you keep UTIs at bay.

1. Drink plenty of water

Drinking plenty of water flushes your urinary tract throughout the day, helping to keep bacteria from building up. While water is the beverage of choice when it comes to bladder and urinary tract health, smoothies, herbal tea, milk, and sparkling water can be good choices, too. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks, both of which can irritate your bladder.

2. Wipe front to back

Your rectum is a primary source of E. coli bacteria, a common cause of UTIs. Wiping from back to front can spread those bacteria from the rectum to the vaginal area and the urethra. Wiping from front to back significantly decreases the risk of spreading UTI-causing bacteria.

3. Urinate just before and after sex

During intercourse, bacteria from the rectum area can be spread to your vagina and urethra, increasing the risk of a UTI. Your partner may also spread bacteria to you during sex. Urinating before sex and immediately afterward helps eliminate bacteria and reduce the risk of infection. 

Gently washing the genital area before and after sex can help, too. Just be sure to rinse very well to avoid irritation.

4. Don’t “hold it in”

When you’re in the middle of something interesting, leaving what you’re doing to empty your bladder can seem like an unnecessary disruption. But holding your urine too long allows infection-causing bacteria to grow. 

Most people urinate six to seven times a day, so ideally, you don’t want to wait more than two or three hours between bathroom breaks. If you’re drinking a lot of fluids, you may need to urinate more often. Each time you urinate, be sure to empty your bladder completely to help prevent bacteria from growing.

5. Avoid scented products

Although personal care product companies would have us all believe we need scented products to stay “fresh,” your vagina has a natural balance of microorganisms that keep it healthy. Products with scents or other chemicals can quickly disrupt this balance, resulting in overgrowth of UTI-causing bacteria.

Deodorant sprays and powders, scented personal care products, and douches all contain chemicals or solutions that can be harmful to these microorganisms, increasing your risks of UTIs, yeast infections, and an inflammatory reaction called bacterial vaginosis. Scented bath oils, bubble bath products, and bath bombs can have the same effect, especially when used regularly.

When you have a UTI

Most UTIs can be effectively treated with antibiotics or other prescription medicines. If you have a UTI or you have symptoms of a UTI, here are two more tips to follow.

Seek medical treatment right away

Ignoring a UTI often leads to a worsening infection. Sometimes, that infection can enter your kidneys or bladder, causing serious complications. Prompt medical care helps you feel better faster, while also preventing those complications from occurring.

Take all your medication

UTIs typically respond well to antibiotics, which means you may find you feel “all better” long before your prescription runs out. Even though it might be tempting to stop taking your prescription medicine as soon as you feel well, don’t. 

The entire prescription is needed to make sure all the bacteria are killed. If you stop taking your prescription before you finish it, small numbers of bacteria may still be present, which means your infection could get started all over again.

UTIs might seem like they’re no big deal, but ignoring those nagging symptoms can quickly lead to a more serious infection, as well as kidney or bladder damage. If you have UTI symptoms or if you want to get to the root of recurrent UTIs, book an appointment online or over the phone with Minit Medical Urgent Care and Physical Therapy today.